If you’re here then you’re either trying to decide which pump you are going to get when the baby comes, or you’re looking to upgrade your old pump. Either way, I bet you already know the basics of pumping, and have a vague idea of what kind of pump you are looking for.
Both the Medela and the Ameda are electric, double breast pumps. They are both really popular with moms, and for good reasons. In this comparison, we are going to talk about all the shared features of the two pumps, as well as their differences. And by the end, you will have a better idea of which one is the right choice for you.
The Shared Features
Even though they look pretty different, these two pumps are surprisingly similar. Let’s check out everything that the Medela Pump In Style and the Ameda Finesse have in common.
Accessibility And Affordability
Both the Medela Pump In Style and the Ameda Finesse are available through insurance, provided that you carrier will cover them. That is something you should check for, before you actually spend any money on the pumps. Additionally, even if you decide to purchase one of the pumps with your own money, the insurance company should reimburse you.
But keep in mind that the insurance will only cover the most basic version of the pump. There are a few other deluxe sets available, which include totes, freezer bags, car adapter and a few other handy additions. Naturally the sets are more expensive, but you ultimately get better value for money.
In terms of pricing, they are not really cheap breast pumps. But, the deluxe sets of both pumps cost almost the same (on Amazon), with the Ameda being only $10 cheaper than the Medela. So, there is not really big difference there.
The ease of replacing broken or lost parts of your pump is another important factor to consider. Especially if this is going to be your only pump – if you break a flange or a tube, you need to be able to replace it ASAP.
Now the good thing about these two pumps is that you can get parts from them anywhere. Literally – Walmart, Target, Babies R Us, Amazon and even at other websites. So it’s not something you should worry about. In terms of affordability of the parts, the Medela parts are slightly cheaper when purchased individually.
But if you’re going to buy an entire set of spare parts, then you see that the Ameda parts turn out to be more affordable. But then again the Medela spare parts set also comes with new baby bottles, whereas the Ameda doesn’t. All in all, the parts are similarly priced, and they are available pretty much everywhere.
One more thing to keep in mind is that both of the brands make flanges in different sizes, ranging from 21mm to 36mm. That’s very useful, especially since there is a good chance you are going to need two different sized flanges. And you can also get those anywhere.
Neither of these pumps is really quiet. Both are a little loud and make a kind of mechanical noise, which is not ideal. If you are looking for a really quiet breast pump, then I would definitely suggest you check out the Spectra S2.
But generally, neither the Medela nor the Ameda is going to be so loud that you can’t pump in the same room with your sleeping baby or spouse. And anyway, that’s something you should really check out for yourself, and see whether you find one noise more acceptable than the other. I recommend you go on YouTube – you’ll find a lot of videos of both pumps in action, and you can judge their noise levels for yourself.
Electric Double Pumps
Both the Finesse and the Pump In Style are electric breast pumps. Which means that you need to plug them into a socket to get them working – unless you invest in batteries or a car charger. In addition to that, both of these are perfectly suitable for both double and single pumping.
Now, I probably don’t have to tell you about all the benefits of double pumping. But, if you are a mom who likes to pump while she nurses, the good news is that you can do that with both of these pumps. You will see a tiny silicone cap in the spot where the tubing connects to the pump – if you are using just one tube, make sure to cover up the other hole with the cap. And it is as easy as that.
If you are using it as a double pump, then you need to plug in both tubes into it, and you are ready to go.
The two pumps have a lot of shared features, but there are also a few differences between the two. Let’s talk about those now.
Open System Vs. Closed System
The Ameda Finesse pump is a closed system pump. Meaning that there is a barrier between the tubing and the bottle, which ensures that no milk can back up into your tubes. And which ultimately makes it more hygienic, and even suitable to be used by different people.
The Medela pump, however, is not a closed system pump. That means that the tubes go straight into the bottles, and that there is a chance that some milk is going to back up into the tubing eventually. But that’s really not as gross as it sounds – you can easily clean out the tubes with water. And if you want them to dry out quickly, just attach them to the pump and turn it on, without connecting the tubes to the bottle.
This is a trick that you should also use in case you get humidity in the Medela tubes during pumping. There’s a good chance that condensation is going to form inside the tubing, and if you don’t dry it out, you risk getting mold in your tubing. And that is as gross as it sounds. But, leaving the pump on without connecting the tubes to the bottle will dry out the condensation in just a few minutes. Better be safe than sorry!
In case your Pump In Style gets moldy, you need to throw out the tubes and replace them with new ones. At least you know you can get those everywhere; even at Walmart!
Two-Phase Vs. Single-Phase
The Medela Pump In Style is a two-phase expression pump, meaning that it has the option to automatically switch to the let-down phase with the push of a button. That’s very convenient, especially for first time moms who aren’t really sure how to get the best milk output.
The Finesse pump, on the other hand, doesn’t have a button to switch into the let-down phase. You need to do this manually – generally by reducing the speed of the pump and increasing the suction rate. Now, there are instructions on the pump that tell you a little bit about how to adjust the pump for each phase (stimulation and expression), and you can always refer to those if you aren’t really sure what to do.
But you’ll find that what works for someone else might not work for you, and that you will have to play around with the settings until you figure out which options generate the best milk output in your case.
The lack of a let-down button on the Ameda pump is both a downside and an upside. If you are just starting to pump, then you might not find the Ameda as efficient as the Medela. It’s better to get the pump that does the job automatically in that case.
But if you are used to pumping and have been doing it for a while, and you also know exactly what speed and suction rates work best for you, then the Finesse pump is going to be the better choice for you. Because you will have absolute control over those settings, and you can use that to maximize your milk output.
On the other hand, with the Medela you can get only one dial, which kind of increases both the suction and the speed at the same time. So, you can’t really adjust those two separately, but you do have an option to go into the let-down phase, which automatically slows down the speed of the pump and increases the suction rate.
When judging the portability of the pump, there are two main things to compare. Can you use it without an AC adapter? How easy it as to just throw it in your purse and get on with your day? Let’s start with the Ameda Finesse.
The Ameda pump is pretty lightweight, and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It has a sort of rectangular shape, so it is slightly long but pretty slim. And it can run on AA batteries, which is awesome if we’re talking about using it somewhere where you have no access to an electrical socket.
However, you need six batteries to get it running, so if you plan to use it on-the-go often, it could get expensive. I suggest you think about getting a car adapter – it’s not at all expensive, and it’s very useful if you plan to pump on your way to work. And keep in mind that you will have to organize all of the parts of the pump yourself – just throwing a milk bottle in a purse full of debris is not really an option.
The Medela pump is much more portable in my opinion. For one thing, you can choose between a rechargeable battery and a car adapter, in terms of portable charging options.
But that’s not the best part; the best part about the Medela is that it comes in an organizer tote. It fits your pump, charger, and it even has a zippered little pocket for the tubing. You can put the tote in your purse or just carry it with the handle – either way, it is much more convenient to carry anywhere than the Ameda.
The Medela pump is also smaller and shaped like a square, but it is much heavier than the Finesse pump so there’s that. But, I generally think it is more portable, out of the two.
Ameda Finesse Vs. Medela Pump In Style: Who Wins?
If we just look at the few differences and which pump comes out on top more often, then the Medela Pump In Style is the clear winner. However, it is never that easy, especially because these two breast pumps have so much in common.
For example, the Medela is much more portable than the Ameda because it comes in a tote, but it is also much heavier. And so, it really depends on what you consider to be a portable pump – one that weighs a pound, or one that comes with an organizer tote, but weighs almost 5 pounds?
Some moms will absolutely love the fact that the Medela is a two-phase pump, with that nifty button that lets you switch into the let-down phase. On the other hand, other moms will prefer that the Ameda lets you adjust everything manually, and exactly how it best suits you.
If even the idea of one day finding mold in your pump tubes scares you half to death, then definitely go for the Ameda. Its closed system is much more hygienic and the pump is generally easier to clean. But keep in mind that mold isn’t going to form in the Medela overnight; if you properly take care and clean the pump after every use, it’s not something you should worry about.
So you see, it is not really as straightforward as one is better than the other. Both are good and reliable pumps. In the end, it comes down to what you are looking for in your pump, and what features you prioritize. And I think that now you have all the info you need to finally make that decision!